The Monthly Megazine Issue #449: Welcome The Death Metal Planet

by Richard Bruton

Welcome once more to The Monthly Megazine – doing just what it says, taking you through the latest goings-on in the sister monthly to 2000 AD.

Five new strips to impress this month – new Judge Dredd from Ian Edginton and D’Israeli, a return to Brit-Cit in both Storm Warning and Devlin Waugh, more of those fiendisssssh Dark Judges in ‘Death Metal Planet, and the second series of John Wagner and Colin MacNeil’s Surfer.

Nick Percival on cover duties two months running – last month it was Zombie Dredd, now it’s the always horrifically perfect Dark Judges

Now, tell me that’s not a damn fine line up for the coming months? Oh yes.

Judge Dredd Megazine #449 – all new strips, all great, just perfect to jump onboard and discover a whole new world of comics. Meg #449 is out on 19th October.


JUDGE DREDD: BABEL – PART 1 – by Ian Edginton and D’Israeli, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Dredd tackles xeno-sabotage here as Edginton and D’Israeli return to the world of MC-1.

As the citizens of Mega-City One head out into the Cursed Earth for a terraforming operation, we’re into an investigation by Dredd into what’s going on with The Spyre, a new terraforming thing being built in the wilds, off-world investment from the Cephaloidan race, something bringing much-needed creds into the MC-1 coffers.

Suddenly, Dredd’s a diplomat… it doesn’t sit well with him…


It all plays off the events of Megazine #438, again by Edginton, where Dredd stopped the sell-off of Earth to some aliens. Here, Dredd’s investigating an explosion that happened at The Spyre, the sub-orbital tether to the quantum tunnel being built to Alpha Centauri and overseen by the Cephaloidans.

Fascinating stuff going on here, the whole idea of Dredd having to deal with aliens, the financial dealings going on – all of it full of potential from Edginton.


And then there’s the always wonderful stylings of D’Israeli. Weirdly enough, whenever he’s doing Dredd there’s a little bit of an outcry from the various social media forums about how it doesn’t look right. Which, of course, as is the way with all these sorts of gatekeeping idiots, absolute nonsense.

One of the joys of 2000 AD and the Megazine over the years is how many different artists bring their unique visions to the strips. Whether it’s been Mick McMahon, Brendan McCarthy, or D’Israeli, the comics have long been a place where different styles fit in perfectly.

Just looking at some of the ways D’Israeli depicts Dredd’s world is sublime. Wonderful artwork, a different vision of Dredd, just as it should be.


STORM WARNING: DEAD & GONE – PART 1 – by John Reppion and Clint Langley, letters by Jim Campbell

Lillian Storm, Brit-Cit Psi-Judge with the ability to talk to the dead, permanently accompanied by the spirits of children that have been with her since a demonic ritual.

Now, the head of Brit-Cit Psi-Div, Judge Campbell, is dead and there’s a surprising coffin sat in the mausoleum…


So, what’s the deal? Lillian Storm dead? Well, I guess that’s what we’re going to be finding out over the next few months. Because the next panel drops us back two weeks and with Storm on a typically beautiful-looking bike design from Langley, investigating something magical and nasty in a jar. And, after a little bit of investigation, Storm’s into another mystery, one involving Psi-Judge Campbell being particularly twitchy.


As you can see, this series of Storm Warning takes on a very different look here with the swapping out of Tom Foster’s very classical, Bolland-ish linework with the painterly work of Clint Langley.

But it’s actually a transition that works really well, with Reppion’s tale leaning into the sort of big, nasty stuff that Langley does real well. A tasty little start to another good procedural with a twist from Brit-Cit.


DEVLIN WAUGH: KARMA POLICE – PART 1 – by Ales Kot and Rob Richardson, letters by Simon Bowland

The vamp comes back, as Devlin Waugh, everyone’s favourite Vatican exorcist, supernatural investigator, and bon vivant returns in a strip that’s nothing to do with Radiohead. Although, given Ales Kot’s writing, you wouldn’t rule out this one taking a right turn and a surprise guest appearance.

Sadly, not more Mike Dowling on the art here – yes, Rob Richardson’s work here is good, but it’s not quite yet up to the levels that Dowling took this series to.


So, after the events of ‘The Reckoning’ and a trip to Hell, Devlin’s investigating the curse on his bloodline. Which means he’s currently sat in a lovely apartment having a cosy chat with Titty, the demonically possessed dildo, and Franz Kafka – in full-on Metamorphosis bug form. And Kafka’s got a little tale to tell to Devlin about his ancestors and ancestral curses.

So, it’s back to Ohio 1848, where a prospector with a very familiar looking moustache making the incredibly difficult journey out West – hard choices and blood await him.

Strange is almost the default with Ales Kot writing Devlin Waugh, and that’s exactly where we’re at right here. A confusing, intriguing start to the latest series.


DARK JUDGES: DEATH METAL PLANET – PART 1 – by David Hine and Nick Percival, letters by Annie Parkhouse

So far in Dark Judges, the fearful four have been ejected into space off the Mayflower and ended up on the colony world of Dominion – which didn’t go too well for the (now dead) inhabitants. MC-1 sent in the Marines and, assisted by one survivor, Rosco, Dominion was destroyed – but the Dark Judges, of course, were not. Ending up on the planet of Thanatopia, inhabiting new alien bodies, they were worshipped as Gods by a death cult.

Now… well, it’s 25 years after Deliverance ended, and an older Rosco is still living on the planet where the Dark Judges are held in place by Um and Whisper and the planet and the few people there have moved on – in their way.


One of the children of Thanatopia, Akan, guided by who knows what, took the SS Kimodo a year ago and set a course back to Earth – an Earth where we get to see the future of the Justice Department and the ship landing.


All of which leads to the Justice Department sending Judges to Thanatopia, including one child all grown up, Rosco’s niece Hellga. But they’re not the only ones coming to the Death Metal Planet – as Akan is making his way back, with friends, and a plan to set Judge Death free.

It’s dark but it’s beautiful, Nick Percival and David Hine spinning out a saga that’s way more involved and complex than we’re used to with the Dark Judges of old, and one that really does keep getting better and better.


SURFER: BOOK TWO – PART 1 – by John Wagner and Colin MacNeil, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Simon Bowland

Skysurfer Zane Perks won a place to be in a movie recreating the famous Supersurf 7, playing the part of Chopper. Except the film was a total scam and everyone involved is now either dead or in the iso-cubes…

The first series of this was just superb, full of Colin MacNeil doing his thing with all sorts of unusual angles and sky-shots, beautiful work pushed along by a typically sparse and brilliant John Wagner script.


Now, at the opening of series 2, Zane Perks’ case is up for appeal, with a suitably ridiculous Wagnerian version of a courtroom drama, complete with a Defence-droid playing to the audience and a deaf as a post 117-year-old Judge. Meanwhile, the SJS looks on as Zane gets released. Things are more complex than they seem, and the SJS are convinced someone wanted Zane released and greased the wheels to get it done.

Meanwhile, we get to see pages of art like this – Colin MacNeil at his finest..


So, with Zane out on the loose again, things are about to get rather difficult for him. Like it says at the end of this first episode… ‘he knows there will be a price to pay.’

Frankly, it’s rather wonderful. But of course it is. You only have to look at the credits to know that.

%d bloggers like this: